Revolution IDL is a nifty new tool created by Eduardo Iturrate at ITT VIS to create object graphics scenes. It can place text, images, various kinds of plots and polygons, and object graphics entities like clipping planes and lights into a scene. You can be translate, scale, and rotate all the objects in the scene as well as change their properties.

Revolution IDL

What makes this a great tool for learning object graphics is that it reverses the normal workflow from code to visualization. Revolution IDL can support a workflow where you:

  1. use a visual interface to create the scene
  2. display and edit the object graphics tree and the properties of the selected object, and
  3. export the scene to IDL code that makes the scene.

The code exported is then an automated script to make the same visualization. From there it can then be modified to get the real data, produce a different kind of ouput, and/or be inserted into your system where it is needed. It would be nice if the iTools could do things like this, but until then Revolution IDL can get you started.